, 12 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
I don't know how accurate this research is, but what appears here is absolutely fascinating. As it also happens to support a ton of things I've been saying lately (😂), I'm going to share it and do a little threading.
perceptiongap.us/?fbclid=IwAR2P…
Here, we see that using whatever estimates they used, roughly 30% of Americans hold extreme views (one side or the other) while people perceive that far more of the other side is extremist than is real. This is and feeds existential polarization.
No, it's not just "the other side" who is overestimating how bad the other side is. Both sides are doing it. If this research holds water, it shows that there's a serious cross-aisle perception gap about what the other side thinks and believes, biasing toward more extremism.
This graph has gone around some already, and it claims to show the seven political tribes of Americans with their approximate prevalence. It lists 8% of the left (progressives) and 25% of the right (in two camps -- I don't know why) as "wings."
This also has been getting a bit of attention lately -- the more politically engaged people are, the more distorted their political views, particularly about the other side. I keep seeing this. Unplug from it. You're not helping yourself or others. You're radicalizing yourself.
What you engage with matters. The more media you get, especially they note from highly partisan sources, the worse your perception gap gets and the more you're radicalizing yourself. Partisan (tribal) media--media democratization--isn't the solution. It makes the problem worse.
Education isn't helping the problem, especially for the left (here: Democrats), for whom the more educated one becomes, the more perception gap there is. This may have much to do with the contents of higher ed but follows from educated Democrats having fewer Republican friends.
This taps into something I've been saying a great deal since last fall: we need to be willing to reach across aisles and be friends. We must restore political and social capital to crossing the aisle. Do so by valorizing friendships across differences and seeing people not tribes
As I've said before, and I will say again now, spending more than ten minutes a day on average on politics is very unlikely to be mentally or emotionally healthy, and it seems not to be prosocial. In fact, it's polarizing and seems to skew our perceptions of reality.
Many have pointed out that the problem is how click/ratings-driven media is structured economically and how social media is optimized for engagement, concluding these problems are intractable. Become aware of them and participate less.
This approach is bad for business for pundits and media purveyors, who may therefore want to keep you engaged (and skewed and enraged), but it seems to be good for individuals as well as for communities and society. I cannot urge it strongly enough.
If your rationalization for binge-consuming and "debating" politics is that you think citizens of democratic systems have an obligation to be politically informed, this research points out that you very well may be deluding yourself. Your high engagement makes you less informed.
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